What It's Like Running a Side Gig

Posted by Jocelyn Gonzales on

I have a confession to make: I'm a bit of a workaholic. I say 'a bit' because I definitely have my moments where I just want to lay on the couch and play video games all day long—and you best believe I embrace those days when I can!—but for the most part, I love working.

I honestly can't think of many times in my life where I wasn't working 7 days a week.

A Day in the Life of Flying Goose Studio

Last September (2019), I made the switch from my chaotic retail life to a Monday-Friday office job. Holy moly, what an adjustment. All of a sudden I had my weekends free, a reliable schedule every day, and way more energy to spend growing the side-gig I had started the month before.

I start my day job at 7 am. I'm a Content Marketing Strategist, which means I spend my day writing social media posts, blogs, and web copy for small businesses across North America. My brain is FULL of useless information.

Once work is over, around 4 pm, I start sewing. Most nights, I only stop to eat supper and then get back to it. (Thank you to my husband for making sure I'm fed!) Lately, I've been taking Wednesday—and sometimes also Thursday—nights off to avoid the inevitable burn out.

Weekends are also spent sewing, with the added tasks of scheduling my social media content and any blog posts for the week. I'm a huge believer in scheduling content ahead of time, which is probably why I ended up making it a part of my current career.

Somewhere between growing a side-gig and working a full time job, I need to exercise, keep my apartment clean, spend time with my husband, etc. And I fully recognize how fortunate I am that I don't have kids thrown into this mix as well!

Let's Talk Burn Out

Seven days a week, I'm doing some form of work, whether it's for my day job or for my side gig. Even my vacation time is spent doing work—for the past year and a half, my vacations have been stay-cations devoted to working on quilts!

The burn out is real.

Every so often, I hit a wall. It usually happens when I am "pushing through" stress for too many days in a row without giving myself a break, or when I have so many projects on the go at once that I can't properly prioritize and focus on them.

I've implemented a few tricks for myself to reduce the chances of me burning out, including:

  • Shutting down all screens at 9 pm. I don't have to go to bed right at 9, but I try to stop staring at screens so I can start winding down.
  • Planning moments of rest. I found that on Wednesday nights, I wasn't feeling as motivated to keep hustling... so it's now my "night off", with zero internal pressure to be productive.
  • Planning ahead, and setting goals. This one is huge for me, especially for projects with deadlines! I break my goals down into manageable chunks, and plan out my weeks around them so I make sure I'm prioritizing properly.
  • Giving myself grace and space. Look, I'm not perfect. I definitely have nights (and weekends) where I spend more time than initially planned terraforming my island in Animal Crossing. It happens, and I don't beat myself up over it.

 

Like most of my blogs, this one is getting quite long AND I'm breaking my no-screens-after-nine rule, so I'll wrap it up here—but keep an eye out for a future blog tackling the concept of "sewjo", and why you should give a big ol' 🖕to the 'shoulds'.

**Jocelyn's note: Since writing this blog, I've come across a lot of discussion around the concept of "side gigs", and why we should start referring to our business as what they are — small businesses. I'll keep this post written as intended, but going forward I am going to stop referring to my shop as a side gig!